Spag. Bol.

You know what that is. I think it’s quintessentially Australian to call Spaghetti con ragu alla Bolognese by another name that makes it sound like you spat at someone, and somewhat explains what we have done to the original recipe to come up with the sort of stuff that you see in almost every household across the nation.

Given that, it’s not like any of you need a recipe to follow, but I’ve decided to document mine anyway. I’ve incorporated bits and pieces from other recipes I’ve come across, from Mum to Heston Blumenthal, and think I’ve come up with the definitive at-home recipe for Spag. Bol.. You may disagree, but that’s neither here nor there.

Soffritto
Every stew or sauce or ragu should start with a soffritto – diced onion, carrot and celery. I’ve added garlic in there, too, and it’s cooking gently with a large lug of olive oil.

50% free range wagyu beef, 50% free range pork
A large number of countries in Europe use two different kinds of meat (or more) when making a sauce, stew or stuffing for vegetables. Whether this comes from an understanding of the way the fats and textures of the meats work together, or just a case of using what was available, I’m not sure. What I do know is that half wagyu beef, half pork (so, around 250g of each), makes an awesome sauce. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to photograph me doing so for the purpose of this post, as you only see wagyu here.


Make sure you buy organic or free range from sustainable farms! I can’t stress this enough. If you live in the Inner West, make sure you get it from Urban Food Market. Tim Elwin knows his suppliers and chooses only those he can guarantee are ethical and sustainable. Well, that’s what he told me, anyway.

I would normally put in about 100g of free range bacon, speck or pancetta at this stage, too, but I wasn’t able to while making my last batch. I’m poor! Don’t judge me!

Tinned tomatoes and tomato passata

Everyone knows Bolognese sauce needs tomatoes. Some people use fresh tomatoes. I don’t know who they are, but they are mental. From what I’ve seen, most Italian stews and sauces would use passata made from last summer’s tomato crop. What I find gives me the best taste is 2 tins of tomatoes and about a third to half a bottle of passata. I’m not really sure on the exact amount, just enough so it looks… saucy.

Secret ingredients
These ingredients are in no way traditional and are used to bring out the umami flavour of the dish, which I think gives it a savoury edge that salt can’t bring by itself. Those two ingredients are…

Star anise…

… and fish sauce! About a tablespoon of.

Simmer, simmer, simmer, season

I would normally let the sauce simmer for about half and hour to and hour on low heat, but, if I am pressed for time and not after a meal that will blow my mind, I bring it up to the boil then simmer on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. I won’t usually season until after then, because simmering reduces the amount of water in the sauce, which, obviously, increases the concentration of salt. You may end up with a dish that’s too salty as a result. That’s science. *nods knowingly*

And serve…

… on animal pasta shapes. I had bought it for my three year old, but she had already gone to bed and it was the only pasta I had left. We be sophistimacated. I topped it with large amounts of grated Grana Padano, which I think is not supposed to go on top of pasta, but, whatever.

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This entry was posted in Australian Interpretations, My Own Recipes, Things Stolen Off Actual Chefs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Spag. Bol.

  1. Jules says:

    I use cumin at the beginning (with parpriak too) and sesame oil at the end.

  2. kat says:

    Omigosh YUMM!!! I love spaghetti and that sauce! That sauce looks so delicious, I love that it’s so meaty! I’m new to blogging, and I love that there’s a foodie community. If you have time, please let me know if you have any advice for my blog: http://shecooksandheeats.wordpress.com/ 🙂

  3. Spag bol is one of my fave recipes ever and I never thought of using star anise and most of all fish sauce – gotta give that a go the next time. Thanks for sharing!

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